A Top-Tier Butler Shares Tips to Keep a Household Running


(Monday, July 9, 2007 11:03 AM EDT)

Caring for a single-family home can be a challenge, but imagine owning a multi-million dollar estate. How do owners of such properties keep everything running without a hitch?

That's where butler Paul Smith steps in.

Smith has managed numerous estates in England and the United States (including Middleburg), and is the man behind the smooth operation of the homes where he has worked.

Over his 20 years as a butler, the Yorkshire-born Smith has learned effective and efficient ways to run a household.

“The key word is anticipation,” Smith said in a recent interview. “You have to learn your employer's likes and dislikes, and you have to be three days ahead of him. You're the CEO of his private domain.”

Smith's duties have ranged from shining silver, tailoring and furnishing to managing security systems, ordering jets and buying horses.

Organization has been paramount in Smith's career.

“There have to be systems and routine in the household,” he said. “Things should happen without the employer knowing, like having air filters changed. They should happen without a brouhaha.”

Clear communication is a must between household staff and their employer, he said.

Despite his dedication to work as a butler, Smith decided to go in a slightly different direction a number of years ago.

“Instead of working for one person in particular and living in their world, I thought maybe I would have a business to provide the same services to several individuals,” he said.

So, his business - Mr. Smith Inc. - was born.

Smith offers his house-managing expertise in many different forms: paying bills, sorting mail, cleaning antique silver, organizing dinner parties, advising on storage of crystal or china . . . the list goes on.

And, so far, he said, he has found the work satisfying.

“I like looking at a huge mess and knowing it's now organized and functioning,” he said.

If you are interested in Paul Smith's services, call him at (703) 687-6595.

Paul Smith has managed numerous estates in England and the United States, and has formed a company to provide house-management expertise to residents in the local area.

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