Doors & Windows

Genius! This Door DIY Doubles as an Indoor Gate

Homeowners with furry friends know that you only have to take your eye off the pets for a minute before they wander off and/or get into trouble. That was precisely Chris Kauffman's fear when feeding her two rambunctious dogs, who would roughhouse and compete over kibble if served meals together. The Canadian DIYer initially used a pop-up baby gate to separate the canines during feedings, but quickly found that the gate blocked all traffic into the laundry room-not just the dogs-and wasn't easy to set up or take down. In the market for a more convenient solution, she pooled her woodworking chops and $30 worth of supplies to DIY a Dutch door that could swing closed and latch to barricade her pooches at meal time.

Not only does a Dutch door offer an elegant and efficient solution here, but the DIY project's ease and affordability deserve a round of applause: They stem from the crafty homeowner's decision to convert the existing swinging door. With her circular saw, the professional carpenter cut the 8-foot ebony door through its middle into a traditional Dutch door; a scrap pine board ledge fastened atop the bottom half visually separates the two pieces as well as covers the hollow-core door's visible cavityleft from sawing. Finally, she added smart hardware choices to the conversion. Instead of splurging on a new door knob, she ingeniously relocated the existing knob from the top to the bottom half of the DIY Dutch door. Two new additions: a simple sliding latch that attaches the two doors together, whenever necessary, and a wall-mounted magnetic door stop to prevent the top door from swinging when it's left open.

Kauffman's low-cost laundry room door makeover saved her from shelling out hundreds of dollars on a built-in doggy gate, but the project can do much more than prevent canine catastrophes. It's equally practical as a baby gate, a window looking out on your kids in the next room, or an entry point for natural light flooding in from a neighboring room. Plus, in addition to its functional purposes, this dynamic DIY Dutch door provides a visually unique decor element, transforming any threshold into an impressive grand entrance. Talk about a project that literally opens doors!

FOR MORE: Chris Kauffman of Just Beachy