Igor obtained his first degree from a top-ranked grammar school in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. After moving to the United States, he then earned his bachelor’s degree from Rockford University in Illinois with a major in Business Management and Philosophy. In 2005, Igor completed a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and international business from Loyola University in Chicago.
Post-graduation he started his career with successful tenures at LaSalle Bank and Morgan Stanley as a relationship banker and wealth manager, respectively. Igor co-founded the American Southeast Europe Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit organization focusing on business and cultural exchange between countries of Southeast Europe and the United States.
In 2002, he co-founded Areté Renovators with his brother, Davor, to give their father Jovo an outlet to market his skills as a master carpenter. Igor soon left the finance industry to focus on Areté Renovators full time as the President. With 18 years of experience in the real estate and construction industries, he leads a team of highly qualified individuals responsible for the daily management of the Areté group of companies – Areté Renovators (design build firm), Areté The Art of Design (showroom and design center), Areté Realty (in-house property management of investment properties), and Areté Investment Fund (real estate investment fund).
Igor also leads the Board of Directors at Council Oak Montessori School in Blue Island, a non-profit private school established in 1990, as the President.
In 2023, Igor obtained his real estate license and is eager to see what the future will bring as he entwines his real estate background into growing the property management and Investments Fund divisions at Areté
Davor received his first degree from Boylan High School in Rockford while successfully playing on their varsity basketball team all four years. He then completed his Bachelor of Science degree from DePaul University in Chicago with a major in finance and went on to tenure with Chase Bank in their finance and derivatives department.
In 2002, he co-founded Areté Renovators with his brother, Igor, to give their father Jovo an outlet to market his skills as a master carpenter. Davor left the finance industry in 2006 to focus on Areté Renovators full time as the Vice President. During the 2008 real estate market crash, Areté found opportunity and business by working with property management companies and clients who needed to complete mandatory repairs, such as drywall replacement or repairing a leaking toilet. Those clients have continued to support Areté throughout the years by becoming repeat clients.
Over the last 15 years, Davor has overseen the successful completion of thousands of remodeling and construction projects throughout the Chicagoland area. In addition to Areté Renovators, Davor has co-founded and oversees the daily management of the Areté group of companies serving as Vice President – Areté The Art of Design (showroom and design center), Areté Realty (in-house property management of investment properties), and Areté Investment Fund (real estate investment fund).
Davor also serves on the Board of Directors at Council Oak Montessori School in Blue Island.
As Co-Founder and Project Manager of Areté Renovators, Jovo has been managing real estate construction and remodeling for over forty years. In addition to Areté Renovators, Jovo is also Founder of Areté Realty, Areté Contractors, and Areté The Art of Design. Jovo, his wife, and his two sons, Igor and Davor, came over to the United States in 1995 and built a name for themselves from the ground up. His experience with carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and much more has helped Areté become what it is today. In his free time, he enjoys cooking for his family, watching sports, and relaxing.
Antonio joined Areté Renovators as a Project Manager and subcontractor in 2010. Since joining the team, he has held additional positions including lead carpenter, assistant manager, and estimator. He became a certified carpenter at the Union Carpenter’s School in 2001 and a certified home inspector at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006. Antonio holds 18 years of experience in the construction industry having worked on a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial projects.
Antonio prides himself on working efficiently, foreseeing potential issues, and coming up with solutions to match every client’s needs. He excels at managing our portfolio of design build clients and sourcing one-of-a-kind materials and custom finishes.
Ivan is a NARI Certified Professional as a Certified Remodeling Project Manager. He started with Areté Renovators as a subcontractor before taking on the role of Project Manager in 2016. He has a strong background in construction and development having received a Masters in Engineering Management.
Ivan is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our larger remodeling projects from pre-construction through completion, including the management, coordination, and control of all financials, scheduling and negotiation of contracts, building approval and permitting, installation, punch list, and warranty. His responsibilities also include completing estimates, leading his production team, and assisting in the development of company strategies. Ivan acts as the direct liaison between clients, project engineer, architect, and designer.
Ivan has extensive experience managing residential and commercial projects and serving as a prominent resource for our clients and our project management team.
Ivan strives to always deliver his client’s vision and exceed their expectations through execution and education. Ivan makes sure every client knows the “how” and “why” and no question goes unanswered.
Marina joined Areté Renovators in 2014. She graduated from economics school in Serbia and then worked for over three years as an Assistant Professor. She is a certified economist with seven years of experience in economics and accounting. As Senior Project Manager, she is responsible for daily reports and communication with clients and suppliers. She also creates project estimates for clients and controls project progress, materials, and deadlines. Her creativity and leadership skills continue to drive Areté’s innovativeness forward.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling.
Marina is a NARI Certified Professional as a Certified Remodeling Project Manager.
Nedzad joined the Areté team as a Project Coordinator in January of 2021. He was born and raised in New York City, where he received a degree in Industrial Electronic Technology from Technical Career Institutes. He worked for his father’s general contracting business until he became a property manager for residential and commercial properties. In 2016, he moved to Chicago with his family and decided to pursue a new career in construction and remodeling, just like his dad. He’s excited to be bringing his knowledge, expertise, and skillset to Areté.
Nedzad is a NARI Certified Professional as a Certified Remodeling Project Manager.
Derek began his career in construction with his first property in 2003. Since then, he has purchased and renovated dozens of properties across the United States. Whether it be a gut rehab, full tear down, or smaller projects, the attention to detail and quality of the finish makes his properties very high end. With most of his work being done in the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park, merging his efforts with Areté was a natural pairing. Derek’s passion is helping clients build their dream home with a complete understanding of the process. He is there to walk you through every step of the way and help translate the client’s vision into reality. In his free time, Derek enjoys spending time with family and vacationing in his second home in Florida.
Derek is a NARI Certified Professional as a Certified Remodeling Project Manager
Ivana joined Areté Renovators 6 years ago as a Project Coordinator managing the construction process from initial client consultation through final punch list, before changing roles to join Areté The Art of Design as a Design Consultant.
With Ivana’s background in construction and 3 years of experience in design, she has successfully completed a wide range of projects from designing rental units to single family gut rehabs. She is communicative and detail driven. She finds her design inspiration through fashion, staying on top of the latest and upcoming design trends, and keeping an eye on what other designers are doing coast to coast.
Having immigrated to the United States in 2012, Ivana always remembers what it first felt like moving somewhere new and not feeling at home in her space. She finds value and the greatest fulfillment in creating a home for her clients.
Marija has always had a passion for creativity, so when she joined the Areté design team in 2019, she finally felt like she could incorporate that passion into her career. Originally from Serbia, she has lived all over the world, including Italy for 18 years before moving to Chicago in 2012. She speaks three languages and graduated from a tourist school where she fell in love with the idea of traveling and exploring new professions. Her time in Italy taught her about many different interior design and fashion trends and truly kindled her passion for the creative arts.
In her free time, she loves spending time with her son, writing autobiographies, and dancing any moment she can. She is looking forward to pushing her creative boundaries each day with Areté and reaching new goals that drive her success forward.
Vasilka realized early on that the most significant details make for an astonishing design. In Europe, she attended the Faculty of Design and Technology of Furniture and Interior and is a Certified Interior Designer (CID) from ITAcademy in Serbia.
Growing up in a family rich with artistic talents – writers, architects, carpenters, chefs, and seamstresses – her talent and skills brought her to Areté The Art of Design where she turns her clients’ homes into a luxurious living experience working as a Design Consultant. She is often inspired by ancient architecture and enjoys creating elegant designs with contemporary elements.
Her curious nature has led her on other creative avenues including social media marketing, logo design, incredible DIY fashion projects, and incorporating creativity and the right ingredients to make a killer good cocktail.
Benjamin's passion and relationship with drawings, proportion, symmetry, and design began early and continues to grow today. He started studying technical drawings at 12 and continued for three years during high school. He continued learning and training in computer science when he applied to design and architecture school at the TecNM in Mexico. There, he specialized in the design of livable spaces.
His first architectural design accomplishment was at the age of 20 when he designed a custom single-family home from A to Z. Ever since, his determination to keep educating himself has played a significant role in his personal life and professional career and has brought him into this amazing team at Areté.
His mission is to provide a top design experience, create functional and harmonious spaces and develop meaningful relationships with every client he meets.
Dulio recently received his bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Wilbur Wright College here in Chicago. Although he is still very early in his architectural career, he is elated to have joined Areté as Architectural Assistant in our design studio. He became interested in architecture because he's always had a passion to create and build things with his hands. What better to create than buildings? He is originally from Acapulco, Mexico, but left his home (along with his family) in search of a better quality of life. They first moved to California but decided to settle down in Chicago. Some of his favorite things to do are watch movies and learn different skills, such as playing instruments or learning to fix different types of electronics.
Gina joined the Areté Renovators and Areté The Art of Design teams in 2017 after moving to Chicago from Naples, Florida. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in Communications and Public Relations. Prior to joining Areté she worked as Director of Corporate Administration for a community management company assisting with Human Resources and team culture, marketing, client onboarding, and managing upwards of 500 condominiums and single-family homes with operating budgets in excess of $5MM.
Gina is a creator and driven by change. She thrives on creating a client experience from first contact through project completion.
In her spare time, Gina enjoys travelling, staying on top of fashion and home trends, red wine, and experiencing the Chicago culture and food scene.
Grace Juracka joined the Areté team after working in the film industry. She graduated from DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts in 2020 with a degree in Film and Television production. After graduation, she served as a studio coordinator and social media manager for a commercial production company and film studio based here in Chicago.
Grace’s experience allows her to excel in gathering on set footage and curating videos to draw people in and get them excited about the behind the scenes process.
In her spare time, Grace enjoys sitting on the beach, cooking new recipes with her boyfriend, and spending time with her triplet siblings and family.
Amari joined Areté Renovators as the Digital Marketing Coordinator in 2022. Within this role, Amari is in charge of creating all marketing materials for Areté, as well as maintaining and updating all social platforms regularly. He is dedicated to both maintaining and promoting Areté’s standard of excellence. He graduated from Roosevelt University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Amari has an extensive background in freelance graphic and web design for individuals and small businesses alike.
Amari is a creative in every aspect. His priority is finding “the story” within all of his projects. He believes storytelling is the common thread that weaves together all of humanity.
In his free time, Amari enjoys singing and acting professionally, cooking, and curating his ever-growing collection of vinyls.
Tabitha joinedAretéRenovators as the Marketing and Operations Intern in May 2023. She attends the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and is majoring in finance. She is dedicated to learning from her team and the company and producing a high standard of work.
Tabitha spends her time creating as much as possible. This includes furniture refurbishing, 2D and 3D art, and wants to use her artistic and creative inclination to make a positive impact.
Patty is a born and raised Chicagoan who received her degree from DePaul University in Finance. Growing up in Chicago has allowed Patty to see how the city has changed over the years and boy have there been some changes. Before settling in, she took some time to live in California and Colorado. Always having her eyes on real estate and design has allowed Patty to be a natural fit for the company. She has participated in flipping a dozen projects on her own. Her combination of finance and her passion for remodeling has been invaluable to Areté. In her free time Patty and her husband love spending their time with their two wonderful girls, and the greatest dog on the planet, Frank.
Patty is a NARI Certified Professional as a Universal Design Certified Professional.
Waseem obtained his Masters in Commerce in India in 2011. Since, he has worked in multiple industries such as accounting & auditing, food service, catering, healthcare, clothing/apparel and insurance. He's also held positions in multinational countries (India & Saudi Arabia) in various finance & accounting roles. He would describe himself as focused, reliable, as well as detailed oriented.
He Immigrated to Chicago in 2016 and began his career as a full-charge bookkeeper, and since, he has been developing his career within the world of accounting. Waseem is always eager to learn and grow within multiple business industries.
Currently, he has three kids, (which can be more than a handful) so he's always completing lots of chores and errands throughout his day. In his free time, he plays with his kids and supports his family through their day-to-day tasks.
Steliana joined Areté Renovators in 2015. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate Economics from the University of Economics in Sofia, Bulgaria. After graduating, she worked for two years in one of the largest real estate agencies in Varna, Bulgaria.
As a Project Coordinator with Areté Renovators she was responsible for daily communication, coordination, and updates with clients, subcontractors, and suppliers. She is also responsible for scheduling, monitoring the progress of projects, and coordinating the purchase and delivery of all materials. In her most recent role as Senior Property Manager, she facilitates and executes lease contracts and oversees the management and completion of project maintenance requests for Areté Realty owned properties. Steliana obtained her real estate license in 2023 is excited to take the next step in helping clients buy and list property throughout Chicago.
Danka joined the Areté Renovators and Areté The Art of Design teams in 2017. She graduated from the Faculty of Business Economics in Serbia with a bachelor’s degree in finance and banking. She is a certified economist with years of experience. Danka prides herself on her organization and attention to the finer details. Using modern accounting software, she is able to manage a high volume of projects, create accurate reporting, as well as oversee the financials for the other Areté companies. Danka is always pushing herself to gain more knowledge and face new challenges.
Brandon joined the team in the Spring of 2021. As transportation director, he is in charge of coordinating with the design consultants to ensure the correct materials arrive on job sites, organizing miscellaneous materials in our showroom, and maintaining an updated list of materials for each client.
Brandon is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to the United States with his family in 2007. He has experience in many different areas including the restaurant and service industries. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, spending time with friends and family, and training his new puppy, Canelo.
Filip is the son of our design consultant, Marija. He is in the showroom often with her and loves to make his own interior design drawings. He attends our team meetings and is a fantastic assistant to our designers.
He loves his mom, playing with his toys, and building with legos. His favorite thing to do on the weekends is playing with his friends outside. His favorite food is an apple, his favorite animal is a lion (because of their cool manes), and his favorite color is black. He also has his yellow belt in tae-kwan-do and is well on his way to becoming a master at the sport
Rooney is a purebred Golden Retriever who came to the United States from Serbia with his owner, and our Project Manager, Marina. He was born on July 10, 2011 and his favorite things to do are swim at the beach, play with his ball, circle the room during meetings to spend a minute with anyone who will stop to pet him.