I've heard domestic engineer used.
It is exactly what was requested, a gender neutral term for the spouse responsible for housekeeping.
Although the phrase is best known as satire of a corporate tendency to pompous titles for mundane jobs, there is cultural shift toward recognition of the amount of work entailed and the broad range of skills involved.
The traditional perception of housekeeping as low-status is a direct consequence of the fact that the role is unpaid. When a man does the same job for pay in a great house, he is titled major domo. In a hotel this role is maître d'hôtel or hotel manager.
In a money obsessed culture like the United States of America, the lack of pay robs the role of all social status. Using domestic engineer without irony has two desirable consequences:
- It assigns status to a role that deserves more status.
- It spells out society's expectations of people in that role.
People frequently change the meaning of words by usage. In this case all that might change is the inflection.
For those odd people who cannot entertain an idea unless it is reported second or third hand, here's a reference. George Bernard Shaw used the phrase in chapter six of An Unsocial Socialist.
Smilash had now adopted a profession. In the last days of autumn he
had whitewashed the chalet, painted the doors, windows, and veranda,
repaired the roof and interior, and improved the place so much that
the landlord had warned him that the rent would be raised at the
expiration of his twelvemonth's tenancy, remarking that a tenant could
not reasonably expect to have a pretty, rain-tight dwelling-house for
the same money as a hardly habitable ruin. Smilash had immediately
promised to dilapidate it to its former state at the end of the year.
He had put up a board at the gate with an inscription copied from some
printed cards which he presented to persons who happened to converse
PAINTER, DECORATOR, GLAZIER, PLUMBER & GARDENER. Pianofortes tuned.
Domestic engineering in all its Branches. Families waited upon at
table or otherwise.
CHAMOUNIX VILLA, LYVERN. (N.B. Advice Gratis. No Reasonable offer
The business thus announced, comprehensive as it was, did not
flourish. When asked by the curious for testimony to his competence
and respectability, he recklessly referred them to Fairholme, to
Josephs, and in particular to Miss Wilson, who, he said, had known him
from his earliest childhood. Fairholme, glad of an opportunity to show
that he was no mealy mouthed parson, declared, when applied to, that
Smilash was the greatest rogue in the country. Josephs, partly from
benevolence, and partly from a vague fear that Smilash might at any
moment take an action against him for defamation of character, said he
had no doubt that he was a very cheap workman, and that it would be a
charity to give him some little job to encourage him. Miss Wilson
confirmed Fairholme's account; and the church organist, who had tuned
all the pianofortes in the neighborhood once a year for nearly a
quarter of a century, denounced the newcomer as Jack of all trades and
master of none. Hereupon the radicals of Lyvern, a small and
disreputable party, began to assert that there was no harm in the man,
and that the parsons and Miss Wilson, who lived in a fine house and
did nothing but take in the daughters of rich swells as boarders,
might employ their leisure better than in taking the bread out of a
poor work man's mouth. But as none of this faction needed the services
of a domestic engineer, he was none the richer for their support, and
the only patron he obtained was a housemaid who was leaving her
situation at a country house in the vicinity, and wanted her box
repaired, the lid having fallen off.
Emphasis is mine. Interestingly, Shaw applies the term without irony to a man.
If you want something more understated, the term you want is householder. This word is very specific in meaning, implying both ownership and responsibility for operational maintenance.