Dixie the Ducato

Sealing the Ceiling – Day 1

After living and travelling fulltime in the van for almost 7 months now, we have begun to understand what is important for us to own and to have on hand and easily accessible to us everyday. Storage space is at a premium in here and must be considered wisely, that means we often employ a ruthless ‘Use It or Lose It’ system of controlling our cargo. Clutter thankfully is virtually impossible to accumulate when all of our belongings must be secured down every day.

Dixies interior needs updating!

Dixie needed some TLC too. Ordinary wear and tear on a 20 year old vehicle is to be expected, but add two humans, living, sleeping, cooking and breathing in the tin can and the household snags can add up quick. We had damp patches on the roof, presumably caused by condensation, and some mould showing near the sliding door and by the skirting in the kitchen, not a pleasant sight.

Water damage over the sliding door

The first victim of the Use It or Lose It spring clean was the little refrigerator. The hot/cold box worked fine, it just guzzled our carefully monitored electricity and added no real value for us, we don’t take milk or eat meat and eat fresh mostly. The box turned out to be deeper than we thought and it left behind a great cavern of valuable space in the kitchen, a bonus, and removing it also revealed two new plugs for our use.

Reclaiming space, one fridge at a time

The second item to go was the TV. Another electricity guzzler, plus with the added annoyance of having to retune it every time you want to use it, we have turned it on precisely three times in 7 months so that was an easy decision. Plus the wooden box that housed the screen is excellent secure storage for personal items, kind of like a bedside locker, with a screw closure so items won’t fall out in transit. Perfect.

Better use of this secure cabinet

It is important to note that we advertised and donated both electrical items to better homes. No matter how you feel about your old stuff there is usually somebody somewhere who would love to own it. One mans trash, as they say, is another mans treasure and that is especially true for electronics, reusing and repairing should always be the first option.

The entire contents of our home we rested briefly on the floor of one of the mothers houses and we marvelled at how many soft furnishings we own, the mattresses, pillows, duvet, woollen blankets, cushions and throws, lots of warm and comfortable textiles and surfaces. With an emptier, lighter Dixie, we made a list of the various repairs required and decided to focus first on sealing the ceiling to prevent future damage and to cover up the unsightly stains.

More damaged wood near metal fixtures

One coat of stain resistant sealant later, we stepped back to find the brightness on the ceiling really added extra light inside Dixie. The panel under the kitchen looked cheerful wearing white and with one glance at the rest of the dark wall pannelling overcrowding the already small space we knew we had to paint everything…

Looking much brighter after a first coat

Once we started, it was impossible to stop. Watching those dark spots disappear beneath a slick lick of bright white is very rewarding and we painted long after dark, until at almost midnight we ran out of sealant and were forced to retire for the evening.


With every piece of wood that can be treated now treated, every other surface scrubbed and shiny and a new appreciation for a bright clean ceiling, we patted ourselves on the back for a fulfilling days work and started thinking about the colour scheme for our ‘new’ room. A little DIY job has somehow turned into a complete van makeover, so much for simply sealing the ceiling!

Bright, clean and fresh, Dixie is a blank canvas

Lots to do on Day 2, we will update you as to our progress as time, light and electricity allows. We don’t need to be travelling to create a bit of excitement around here, a night in a real house is an adventure in itself to us 😊

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