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Plant City Observer Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018 2 months ago

Welcome Home: Sparkman House becomes luxury bed & breakfast

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The historic home has been repurposed and opened for business July 14.
by: Justin Kline Sports/Associate Editor

Theresa Clinton wants to ensure that if you stay even one night at the Sparkman House Luxury Bed & Breakfast you’ll never forget the experience.

Clinton and her husband, Ken, purchased the Queen Anne style home in Plant City’s Historic Downtown district with the intent of turning it into a bed and breakfast and have spent more than nine months working on it until it hit their desired balance of luxury and local history.

The home was built in 1905 as a single-story building and when John Gadsden Sparkman bought it in 1910 the second floor was added on. Though previous owners of the home have made improvements throughout the house, including the kitchen and library areas, Clinton said many of the home’s original features from 1910 are still present and intact. The Clintons wanted to keep as many of the original features as possible in place to preserve the history of the home and give it its own distinct feel.

The Sparkman House's gazebo is equipped for weddings and other special occasions.

“I want to be able to share the beauty and the story of this home with other people,” Clinton said.

It features five unique bedrooms and a detached carriage house suite for rent, as well as a covered outdoor patio area and a small second-floor “morning deck” set up for two guests to sit. Three-course breakfasts are served in the converted Florida room and guests can also enjoy time in a sitting room, library area and a large porch. The Victorian-themed decor, with many handmade pieces of furniture, gives the Sparkman House a classic luxury feel, but it’s still friendly to modern times — the house has been wired for surround sound should anyone need to use the speakers, several of the beds have headboards equipped with hidden USB chargers and reading lights and the mattresses and pillows have memory foam.

“When we went ahead and did this, we wanted to do this right,” Clinton said. “We knew we wanted to be a little bit, a step above the average bed and breakfast.”

Each room in the house has its own unique look and features.

Clinton is interested in learning all about the history behind the home and the Sparkman family, so she’s invited several family members to the property and is going to the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center to find more information and pictures. She has a blank wall reserved for any pictures she finds of the Sparkman family and house’s past, save for a large photo of John G. Sparkman that now resides on the sitting room’s coffee table.

One thing Clinton is particularly excited about is the Sparkman House’s potential as an event venue. A gazebo area in the front yard has been outfitted with lighting and decor for special occasions, but its chief potential is as a wedding spot for up to 80 people. Any part of the Sparkman House not already occupied by guests is available for wedding parties to use and brides can get ready for their big days in the innkeepers’ master suite, which comes with a dress-ready mannequin, large bathroom and walk-in closet. Clinton said weddings and special occasions are already being booked and that she’d like for the Sparkman House to have a presence in local festivals and other events beyond being a place for people to stay.

The Sparkman House held its grand opening ceremony on July 14 and had its first overnight guest shortly afterward. Now that the operation is up and running, Clinton hopes the business’s attention to detail and luxury features will make the home the most desirable place to stay in Plant City.

“I want the Sparkman House Luxury Bed & Breakfast to become an icon in Plant City,” Clinton said. “When people think of Plant City, I don’t want them just to think of the Strawberry Festival and the strawberry fields. I also want them to think of the Sparkman House and say, ‘You’ve got to stay there.’”

Justin Kline is the Sports/Associate Editor at the Plant City Observer. He has been covering all things sports-related in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 2013.

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