Zen and the Art of Boler Restoration

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a while. The laundry room is progressing but with some painting and tiling left to do, I'm not ready to show you the after pictures just yet. So on this cold and rainy day (what's up with the weather in Southern Ontario this spring?!), I thought maybe we could try to infuse a little summer into this space.

Just about 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to see what kind of investment was needed to buy a camper-van. As I started looking at the VW Westfalia and dreaming of taking a road trip with my husband and young daughter, I soon realized that not only were these vans out of our price range, they were also very complicated to maintain (at least for those of us who are not mechanically inclined). So we pivoted and started looking at vintage trailers. Almost right after, we were driving somewhere on a weekend and pulled into the Starbucks (gotta get your coffee for the road!). In the parking lot there was a Boler trailer. My husband did a quick google and discovered that these little fibreglass eggs were a very popular trailer with a cult following. And even better, they are a Canadian invention!

So we got looking around and in a little less than a month from that fateful day at Starbucks, we were the proud owners of our very own Boler circa 1976! Here is what it looked like when it was dropped off in our driveway by its previous owner. (We didn't even own a car that could tow it! Psh, details!)

So cute! Paint job on the outside was not overly attractive but was in good shape.

So cute! Paint job on the outside was not overly attractive but was in good shape.

So overall not too bad. Dated, yes. Almond coloured everything, definitely! But nothing that a little love and care could overcome. So we got to work! To start we removed the cabinet doors, the old fridge and heater (both original to the trailer) and the cook top. As we planned to camp with a toddler and my husband and I both have an excess of caution, we removed any sources of carbon monoxide from the trailer. And just so we are clear. It may seem very romantic and bohemian to buy a vintage trailer and set-off down the road but there was A LOT of work to be done first. Over the course of about 4 months, these are all the items we had to take care of BEFORE we could safely and happily go camping.

  • New cushions and upholestery
  • Custom roman shades
  • Paint the interior
  • New flooring and plywood subfloor in lower basin
  • Fully rewired electrical
  • Buy and connect a new battery
  • New safety chains
  • Install new seals for large front and rear window
  • Install new roof vents
  • Remove and re-seal all side windows
  • New custom cabinet doors
  • New faucet that connects to exterior water connection
  • New pump faucet for interior water source (like water jug)
  • New tires along with new wheels and bearings

Oof! That's a big list! This trailer is now over 40 years old and though it is in excellent condition, it still takes ongoing work to maintain. I think though really this is true of even new trailers. Ready for the after shots?

Painting the outside has been the last big item on our list. But even Instagram can help in that department! Here is a shot from one of the first times we had the trailer "out in the wild"!

Even that red looks great with an Instagram filter!

Even that red looks great with an Instagram filter!

So what do you think? Do you dream of taking off down the road, looking for your next adventure? Want to know the end of this story?! We sold it! Just a few days ago. I know you are probably asking "Why?" It is simply that we are not "trailer people". We want to go camping and though it was nice to be sleeping off the ground, it just felt like a lot of work. And we loved the restoration process but now that all the "fun" stuff is done (other than the exterior paint job), it is only the regular ongoing maintenance stuff left. We realized it wasn't bringing us the joy we thought it would now that's it's "done" so we are happy to have it go to its new owners and hopefully have some new adventures with them!