First, the base. I started with this great salvaged door with its beautiful layers of peeling white and cream paint. (note--the key to making this project budget friendly is finding a well-priced door-in some higher end architectural salvage yards, doors can be several hundred each. But if you keep your eyes open, similar doors are availabe at non-profit "green" projects were building materials are recycled, flea markets, and sometimes for free at re-modeling/building sites) The weathered finish was one of the things that really made this project. A similar finish could be replicated on a newer door with a faux paint technique. What made the door suitable was the fact that it was divided into 2 panels, one large and one sigificantly smaller.
I then had my contractor replace the bottom panel with glass and add crown moulding to the top of the mirror. (His too-helpful assistant almost derailed the project--he was getting ready to caulk, putty, and sand the door down to a smooth finish--he couldn't believe I wanted weathered wood and peeling paint). Depending on how handy you, a friend, or your spouse is, except for the mirror cutting, this could be diy (note: the door is actually inverted--the smaller panel was originally the bottom of the door). The mirror actually looked really good at this point. If you are going for a simple, country look, all the mirror really needed to be finished at this point is some minor antiquing on the added crown and a coat of dark wax to seal it.
For this client, however, I wanted a slightly more formal feel, so after removing all actively peeling paint, I gild and distressed the added crown and the small trim around each panel. I then did some handpainting on the center panel with the client's favorite motif, the fleur de lis. I finished it all with two layers of dark paste wax buffed to a sheen. If you did not want to paint the top panel, other options would be to add a carved detail, replace the top panel with mirror as well, or search for a small oil painting in similar dimensions to the top panel.