Vacancies

Live-in Domestic Couple

North Oxfordshire, Competitive Salary

EHS #3047

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Our client, who has a 400 acre Country weekend estate 2 miles south of Banbury in North Oxfordshire, is now looking to recruit an experienced hands-on Domestic Couple.  The location is very attractive, both in its setting and in its proximity to Cotswolds countryside, to Banbury facilities, and for transport links (M40/mainline trains from Banbury).

The house is a large Manor House, 9 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms.  Separate outdoor pool, pool house, tennis court etc.  The Head Gardener/Estate Manager and three other Gardeners live on the estate.

The owners primarily use the residence at weekends/bank holidays with occasional other use in summer weeks.  They typically arrive Friday evening and leave Sunday late afternoon.  Most of the time they are alone at the estate.  They have 4 adult children.  Although there is no set pattern, on average once, and max twice, a month they may have lunch or dinner parties (6-18 people), and maybe 8-10 times a year weekend guests (2-12 at a time).  The household style is informal but done to a high standard.  There are dogs (setters) and a cat to be looked after living at the estate, although on your days off care will be provided by the Gardeners.

The owners are looking for a Couple, one acting as Housekeeper, the other as House Manager/Handyman/Estate Worker depending on skills and experience.

Housekeeper

The Housekeeper's job is a full-time, high standard, hands-on Housekeeper's job.  Housekeeper would be expected to be on duty at weekends when the owners are in residence including evenings as late as needed for dinner clearing.  Days and hours otherwise are flexible as long as the job is done well.

Housekeeper is responsible for:

  • Day-to-day smooth running of the house
  • All normal housekeeping elements, bed turndowns, cleaning, tidying, laundry, fire setting, washing up, shopping, flowers, household admin present, although given pattern of house usage these are often relatively light
  • House has art and antiques
  • Supervising of maintenance jobs when needed
  • Cooking (to recipes provided) to a good dinner party standard (by at least one of the Couple) is desirable, as is baking
  • Assistance with food prep, drinks pouring, food serving and other hospitality related efforts important
  • Driving is necessary as the house is in the country
  • Occasional driving for train station or airport pickups and drop offs of guests also needed

House Manager/Handyman/Estate Worker

Duties can be adjusted to fit experience but would ideally include:

  • Responsible for the management and maintenance of the estate's property, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, media and physical assets (main house, stable block and outbuildings, pool house, swimming pool, tennis court, gates and security cameras and systems) as well as owner's London residence
  • Housekeeper assistance as needed (eg heavy items such as furniture moving, lightbulb replacements if high, log restocking in house)
  • Entertaining support of Housekeeper - assistance in kitchen and serving at dinner parties and other entertainment events
  • Potentially cooking duties for some dinner/lunch parties
  • Cars/driving - valeting owner's car, occasional driving (airport/train station etc)
  • Pet care duties shared with Housekeeper (and other garden staff on your days off)
  • Verbier support with Housekeeper, including picking guests up at airport by car
  • Responsible for lawns, garden/herb area and patios around house
  • Garden/Estate/Arboretum duties as time allows
  • Duties as part of garden team as needed, which may include assistance on open days, estate maintenance (machinery, equipment, fencing, irrigation), vegetable and fruit cultivation, mowing etc.  It is hard to tell how much time free for this.  It may be ad hoc or may be taking responsibility for entire areas such as irrigation, mowing of paths and deer fencing in arboretum.

Expect duties to be hands-on wherever possible (eg painting, gutter clearing, simple mechanical and electrical, log cutting etc) supplemented by commissioning/supervision of contractors on an economical basis where necessary if complex or specialist skills etc.

Reporting line would be to owners overall but to Head Gardener/Estate Manager for administrative issues and all gardens and non-house related work.

The owners also have a large chalet in Switzerland (7 bedrooms with a separate 1 bed staff studio on the lower floor) which they use 5-6 times a year for long weekends or week-10 day stays including New Year.  They typically have family and other house guests, which can mean 4-18 people staying.  The Couple would travel out a day or two ahead of these visits to prepare the chalet, look after the party during residence (cleaning, laundry, tidying, shopping, assistance with meal prep, cooking, serving, and washing up in the evenings), and stay a day or two later to clean up and close up.  These are probably the busiest and longest days involved in the job.  Time off would be given in lieu for days off missed during these trips.  No language skills needed.

Accommodation: Housekeepers/Couples' accommodation is a 1 bed apartment in the stable block adjacent to the main house (currently being extended to 2 bed).  There is shared use of an estate car for work purposes.

Expect all staff to work together well and very much as a team, helping each other where possible.

Hours: 5 days per week, usually weekends, taking two days off during Monday to Friday.

Salary: Present with expectations

Apply Now

Live-in Domestic Couple

EHS #3047

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