Wealth

Arete Wealth Joshua Rogers art-filled home – Crain's Chicago Business


As founder and CEO of Arete Wealth Management, Joshua Rogers lives and breathes the financial markets. But he believes life should encompass more than business, and that ethos is reflected in both his firm and the art-filled Lincoln Park rowhouse he shares with his financé, Lesley Weisenbacher.

“A well-lived life is multidimensional and well-rounded,” says Rogers, 43, who is on the boards of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Illinois Humanities and his alma mater, St. John’s College, a private liberal arts institution in Annapolis, Md. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and Congressman Mike Quigley’s campaign finance chairman.

In the late ’90s, Rogers worked for a research and development lab focused on digital ventures with Jay Walker, who went on to found Priceline. During his tenure, Rogers co-invented several patented technologies, including Priceline’s “name your own price” technology.

After later stints at American Express and Ameriprise Financial Services, Rogers used his own capital to found Arete Wealth in 2007, which now has 165 financial advisers and 38 branch offices. There his innovations include an advisory service for art, wine and car collections. “It further differentiates us in the market,” Rogers says.

“It’s like a house in that there’s a use value, but it’s also an investment,” Rogers says of collecting art, wine and cars. “It’s a lot more exciting than owning a stock.”

Rogers collects wine and, more extensively, artwork. Since he began buying art in 2005, he has amassed a collection of more than 220 pieces, many from Chicago artists. The couple’s late-19th-century home is an elegant backdrop for their collection, though it had seen better days when they bought it in 2016. For example, the wide opening between the double parlor had been walled off.

Rogers collects wine and, more extensively, artwork. Since he began buying art in 2005, he has amassed a collection of more than 220 pieces, many from Chicago artists. The couple’s late-19th-century home is an elegant backdrop for their collection, though it had seen better days when they bought it in 2016. For example, the wide opening between the double parlor had been walled off.

“It was a travesty,” says interior designer David Hopkins of Praed Projects in Chicago, who collaborated on the house’s redesign with business partner Aaron Miller.

Hopkins had worked with Chicago interior designer Elizabeth Krueger to design Rogers’ former home, and more recently, he and Miller made over Arete Wealth’s corporate offices in the West Loop. With the rowhouse, he says he convinced Rogers and Weisenbacher they could “turn a stodgy Victorian home into a contemporary jewel box that makes the art sizzle.”

Over the span of three months, the designers reimagined the interior, opening up the wall between two small parlors and painting the walls and moldings in the same dark gray color. “We had originally imagined the moldings in white, so they would really pop, but this is so much better,” says Weisenbacher, 42, a marketing executive.

In the front parlor, a vintage tufted mohair-covered sofa anchors a seating area in front of an ornate marble fireplace mantel. Another equally ornate mantel is in the second parlor, where a pair of dark linen-covered sofas face a TV. In both spaces, large brass pendants are suspended from high peacock-blue ceilings. “We wanted to pizazz it up, so we knew that we’d need to be a little crazy and took some chances,” Rogers says.

To keep the artwork from overwhelming the space, the designers and Weisenbacher designated specific spots for display throughout the interior, with an emphasis on scale and symmetry. “Josh changes the art constantly, but he knows which walls he can hang art on and which walls he can’t,” Hopkins says.

Rogers and Weisenbacher are still adjusting to the home’s floor plan, which is smaller than Rogers’ previous space, and small bedrooms with tight closets, but they are thrilled with its new look and say it has functioned well for intimate dinners, political fundraisers and salons with local artists. “I want to be surrounded by intellectuals and creative people, so I make it happen,” Rogers says. “There’s a community aspect to it that feeds my soul.”

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