About Custom Home Furnishings Academy
In 1993, Cheryl Strickland began a life-long mission of educating and elevating the professionalism of an isolated and secretive industry by publishing the first SewWhat? Newsletter and, shortly thereafter, establishing the Professional Drapery School and online drapery forum. Her determination persevered and she far exceeded and fulfilled this mission. By 2000, to recognize the expanded fields of concentration and growth, the newsletter, drapery school and forum were respectively renamed Custom Home Furnishings magazine, Custom Home Furnishings Trade School (CHF) and the CHF Forum.
In 2005, Ms. Strickland sold the school, magazine and forum to Margie and Andy Nance who renamed the school Custom Home Furnishings Academy and moved it to Charlotte, NC. The new facility continued in the inspiration of its origin, raising the quality of education and professionalism of the industry.
In 2008, the industry sadly lost Ms. Strickland, but her legacy continues. She will forever be honored and respected as a well-known industry expert and educator, creating pride and professional in the custom home decorating trades of drapery, upholstery, slipcovers and associated fields. In honor of Ms. Strickland, the magazine was renamed DRAPERY & DESIGN PROFESSIONAL as a lasting reminder of Ms. Strickland’s mantra of “I am a Professional”, which she insisted every class or conference stand and repeat.
In 2009, to fulfill the growing needs of the academy and support daily operations and future development, CHF Academy LLC, a separate management company, was formed by the Nance’s, Jeanelle Dech and Michele Williams. In 2010 Terri Booser, Cheri Mulhare, and Jill Robson joined the team.
In 2012, Khindu Eke-Spiff acquired ownership of the Custom Home Furnishings Academy and Drapery & Design Professional Magazine.
CHF Academy continues today as a strong and steadfast educational facility and support network. Past and present owners, directors and instructors share a powerful dedication to education and unyielding desire to empower Custom Home Furnishings Academy students and every member of the DRAPERY & DESIGN PROFESSIONAL network.
The dedicated staff at CHF Academy works attentively to ensure that each student receives a rewarding educational experience.
Sarah Douglas came aboard December 2014. Sarah carries the same vision and mission of the CHF Academy. She handles the administration aspects of the students experience including inquiries, registration, scheduling and liaison for the instructors.