CLINTON — Dark clouds rolled over Clinton on Aug. 10, bringing torrential rains and strong winds that uprooted trees and snapped power lines, leaving thousands in Clinton County without power.
But before the storm, under that morning’s clear skies, Bill and Will Twyford of Colorado changed the face of a Clinton classic.
The father and son removed the 1950s tiles from the façade of the former Volckman Furniture Co. in downtown Clinton. It’s the first step to returning the building to its original glory.
Bill Twyford, who calls himself The Real Estate Rock Star, grew up in Clinton. He and his wife, Dwan Bent-Twyford, operate The Investor’s Edge University through which they help people make real-estate decisions.
The Twyfords have closed more than 2,000 real estate deals, spoken on stages with Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki and have been featured experts on MSNBC and Fox & Friends, according to the Investor’s Edge website.
With his expertise in real estate, Bill returned home, buying up Clinton properties with an eye to bring downtown back to life.
Last week’s project was 241 Fifth Ave. South, the home of Riverfront Antiques.
The tiles on the building’s exterior dated to the 1950s, Bill said. “When I was a kid, it was on there.”
Seventy years ago, the building owners were driven to “take you into the ‘60s,” said Bill. They gave the building a contemporary look. Today, the Twyfords are taking the building back to the 1920s.
“These are big, huge windows here,” said Bill, pointing to plywood on the second floor behind the wooden frame that held the tiles. Measuring 9 by 18 feet, the windows were installed in 1924, Bill said.
Bill envisions a cafe in that space, with 8-foot French doors and three balconies for dining. An elevator in the back of the building will make the cafe accessible to people with disabilities.
Above the windows and balconies, the Twyfords will add crown molding to restore the building to its former classic look, said Will. “We’re trying to figure out what we want it to look like.”
The Twyfords don’t like what is in style or modern. “We like the traditional timeless look,” said Will. They’ll restore Volckman’s large windows, and add crown molding to the top of the building.
They don’t have a workshop in Clinton, so they’ll build the crown molding in Colorado, said Will.
“This is going to take some time to do,” said Bill. He thinks it will take about a year. “We’ll be back in September working on it again.”
Bill had hoped to find unpainted brick underneath when he removed the tile, but that didn’t happen. “This brick has been painted,” Bill said. Now they’ll have to sandblast and tuckpoint it. Or they may paint it.
Some plans are still in flux.
The Twyfords own many buildings in Clinton, including Bill’s parents’ house, which Will bought and remodeled.
The Twyfords recently remodeled 119 Fifth Ave., returning it to its original look, though somewhat artificially.
They removed panels, exposed windows and took out white porcelain tiles. Rather than putting new tiles up, the Twyfords painted white accents where the tile used to be to give the building the same look.
On the Third Street side of the Volckman building, the removal of the tile exposed a painted advertisement: Milo J. John Co., Druggists; The Rexall Store. Bill thinks he’ll repaint the sign and leave it there, another salute to the past.
William J. C. Volckmann, founder and owner of the furniture store bearing his name — but with one N — started the business in 1905, according to a 1955 article in The Clinton Herald.
Described as “soft-voiced” and “easy-going,” Volckmann was born in Rensborg, Germany in 1880. His family moved to Clinton when he was 5.
Volckmann was still active in the daily running of the furniture company in his 70s. He had the building remodeled inside and out in anticipation of its 50th anniversary in 1955.