A Slice of Williamsburg Living and Breathing in Odessa

This Colonial time capsule includes pine floors, four fireplaces and chandeliers illuminated by candles.



The modern-day Colonial is a faithful reproduction of a 1700s Williamsburg home.

In Odessa, a vibrant, breathing time capsule for American architecture, the house Carol and David Sheats live in is a textbook example of Colonial construction with its balanced facade, artful brickwork and curbstone steps.

But the house is a relative newcomer, built by Franklin and Alice Biggs in 1986 as a faithful reproduction of the Travis House, a long frame house with a distinctive gambrel roof constructed in Williamsburg, Va., in about 1765. 

Authentic elements include heartwood pine floors, nine-over-nine windows, four fireplaces and plaster-coated interior walls. The chandeliers in the dining and sitting rooms are illuminated by candles. The builder used flat-head nails, just as the Early Americans did.

“We love that the house is so true to the original,” Carol Sheats says. “We also appreciate that it has central air conditioning.”

Known locally as the Williamsburg House, the home was an ideal fit for recent empty nesters, who had raised their family on a farm outside Odessa.

“We wanted to downsize a bit,” Sheats recalls. “And we also wanted to move into town to be near my dad, who was getting up in years.”

The original owners had added a family room to the back of the house. The Sheatses made a few changes, too. First, they decided to repurpose the large living room as a formal dining room. The original dining room, which adjoins the kitchen, became a cozy and casual parlor. 

“Flopping the rooms so that the main living area was off the kitchen made sense to us,” Carol says. “It also expands the kitchen, which is small.”

Classic Colonial

They have decorated their home in classic Early American style, upholding a tradition of preserving pieces through multiple generations. Framed antique maps of the First State were taken from the Pomeroy & Beers Atlas of 1868. The tiny child’s chair in the foyer is at least 100 years old, although no one is certain of its precise age.

“We only know that it was made in Delaware,” Sheats says.

The couple bought the circa 1890 corner cupboard in the dining room at a farm auction in 1982. It included a handwritten note on the cupboard’s history, which Carol copied on a typewriter and tucked inside a Blue Willow canister, part of a collection started by her mother.

“I am glad I did because the handwriting faded to the point that it is difficult to read,” she says.

Carol has crafted a number of future heirlooms with her own hands, starting with the quilt made from colorful triangles that is displayed in the foyer. Carol sewed it as a teenager, piecing it together with neat, tiny stitches.

“I look at the prints on the fabrics and I remember dresses my mom wore,” she says. 

As a young mother, she braided rag rugs by hand, weaving circles and ovals from scraps of fabric. “Whatever we needed for the house, I would think of ways I could make it myself,” she says.

Clockwise from top left: Carol Sheats’ father made the hope chest in the master bedroom.;
The dining room features a cherry table made by Carol Sheats.; The homeowners
decorated their home in classic Early American style.; Carol made the cabinet
that displays David Sheats’ decoy collection.

A DIY Daughter

Her father, Walter Kabis, was an educator who taught industrial arts before ending his career as principal of the Charles W. Bush School in Wilmington. Kabis also enjoyed making his own furniture and restoring his home, the historic Corbit-Kabis House, built on Odessa’s Main Street in the 1700s. He made a hope chest for each of his four daughters, including the chest at the foot of the four-poster bed in the Sheats home.

Carol was a teenager when she went into her dad’s wood shop, turned on the power saw, and begin experimenting. The buzz of the saw alerted her father, who came in to investigate.

“He reviewed safety with me—and then let me go at it,” she recalls.

Over the years, she crafted a number of pieces. Many started with the remnants of discarded furniture, old farm equipment and architectural elements. 

The display cabinet in the foyer was repurposed from an old kitchen cupboard discovered in an abandoned house. A hanging cupboard in the sitting room was adapted from a church lectern that was stored in the attic of a farmhouse in Leipsic, still holding a church bulletin dated 1899.

Carol salvaged the wooden sides on a wagon driven by David’s father on the Sheats family farm and put them together with old shutters to make a cabinet to display her husband’s extensive collection of duck decoys, a flock that includes goldeneye drakes, pintails and a decorative swan carved by local artisan Paul Loder. The oldest decoy, a pristine Canada goose, was made by George Warin in 1879 and migrated east from the St. Clair Flats Shooting Club in Michigan.

She incorporated other pieces from the wagon into a cabinet for the TV.

“We don’t like to waste anything,” she says.

From Trash to Treasure

The hutch began life as an apothecary cabinet in a drug store that later became the Van Dyke House, a historic home on Main Street where David’s mother lived as a girl. 

Over time, the top and bottom of the cabinet were separated. The top wound up in the basement of David’s family home, where it was used to store the tomatoes his mother canned. The bottom went to a farm equipment shed, where it served as a work bench and a place to stow old paint. 

“They didn’t look like much,” David Sheats recalls. “But when we put them together and replaced the missing drawers it became a nice piece of furniture again.”

David was cutting firewood outside the farm when he discovered a massive fallen cherry tree. The couple hitched the trunk to a tractor and hauled it to a flatbed truck, then transported it to their barn, where the wood was cured for five years.

The cherry tree was milled into planks at an Amish saw mill near Dover. For design inspiration, Carol listened to the tree, determining the width and length of the table by taking the three largest planks and positioning them side by side. 

There’s no joinery involved, no tongue-in-groove detailing. She left a hair’s breadth between each plank to accommodate expansion and contraction. A rectangular skirt beneath the table top adds stability. The legs are lean and tapered.

“I like simple lines, Shaker lines,”
she says.

With her artistic vision in place, the table came together quickly. The couple commissioned Amish furniture makers to craft Windsor chairs.

“Our goal was to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the table—and we did,” she recalls.

Most nights, the couple dines at a beautifully worn wooden table in the sitting room, the same table David’s family gathered around when he was a boy.

The collection of glass medicine bottles displayed on window sills was buried treasure, dug up during walks outside town. Carol’s most prized find is a clear glass bottle with raised print that reads: Wm Faire’s Druggist, Odessa, Del.

“We’ve come up with more than 50 bottles over the years,” she says. “Walking in the woods looking for bottles is one of my favorite things.”

The Sheats children are maintaining the family tradition of preserving the past and crafting pieces for future generations. A son is now raising his family in the Corbit-Kabis House. He made a table just like his mother’s, except he chose walnut.

“I am thinking about investing in a new power saw for the kids,” Carol Sheats says.

The last time the couple visited Colonial Williamsburg, they stopped by to visit the original Travis House, which is now being used as offices.

“It was like walking into our own home,” David Sheats says. “The staircase and the foyer were exactly the same.”   

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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Ah, typecasting—the baritone is always the bad guy! In Devils, Drunks & Dastardly Dudes, we’ll go on an operatic journey of men behaving badly. We’ll add a tenor to the mix, too… but we...

Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Come give curling a try! At this 2-hour intro-to-curling event we'll provide a basic lesson then coach you through a mini-game.  Whether you just want to cross #curling off your bucket list or...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
Website »

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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
Website »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
View map »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

More information

MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Website »

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