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Claudio Stivelman is a real estate developer whose corporate biography modestly alludes to his "prophetic vision to invest along the Northern coast of Miami-Dade County." He got stupid-rich and built himself an "11,000-square-foot dream house," only to find that living in a house with six bedrooms and a movie theater ain't all it's cracked up to be. The Wall Street Journal's Candace Jackson -- who may have responded to a job posting our new Jr. Editrix wrote about last year -- gives us a glimpse into the Lifestyles of the Obscenely Wealthy and Modestly Famous.


Mr. Stivelman says he loves the home, but he is moving out—to a 3,635-square-foot condo in the Muse, a building he is co-developing nearby.

Mr. Stivelman, who lives with his longtime girlfriend, discovered he needed a small army to keep up his giant home: two housekeepers, a weekly handyman and regular visits from a pool guy, landscaper and pesticide sprayer. "One thing you get tired of is all this maintenance," he says. "It comes to a point where you say, 'enough is enough.' "

We hear you, real estate magnate Claudio Stivelman! As any Downton Abbey fan will tell you, it is so hard to find good help these days, especially when the staff rudely insists on existing and occupying physical space. But Stivelman is not alone; he is, according to the WSJ, part of a growing number of wealthy people who moved into palatial estates, only to find that The Help intruded on their precious privacy.

Some owners discover that the very thing they were seeking in a big house—privacy—is elusive in a home that requires a large staff for maintenance. And then there is the problem of tracking down family members when they are out of shouting range.[...] Homeowners in large homes also often request separate Wi-Fi networks for staff and homeowners for security purposes.

Tell us about it. When we were trying to get Chip and Rex off to Choate last fall, we spent hours running around the house trying to track them down. (They'd snuck out onto the Chris-Craft, the little devils. The 28-footer, not the 36, they know better than that.) And look, Ignacio is a gifted gardener, but are we really going to let him packet-sniff the family WiFi when we're booking our next NetJet jaunt to St. Bart's? We are not, goodness gracious, the very thought. Stick to los flores, Ignacio, por favor.

But hey, check your class resentment, Wonketeers, because these homeowners are Creating Jobs, some of which actually pay quite well!

Bryan Peele, an estate manager who oversees several large estates owned by a Los Angeles-based family, including their 10,000-square-foot-plus primary residence, says people underestimate what it takes to run a big household.[...] he advises homeowners to have at least one daily housekeeper on staff for every 5,000 square feet of living space, and for very large properties, an estate manager to oversee everything. A typical salary for a manager overseeing multiple properties, he says, starts at about $150,000.

That is some professional-grade mansion management advice that all you Wonketeers can use to beautify your own 5,000+ square-foot homes, and you are all welcome. We would have told you about this advice earlier, but we were too busy being poor.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was right: the rich really are different from you and me.

[Wall Street Journal]

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