Perfectly Well Gruntled

Cottage floor tiles

My son introduced me to a new word the other day: gruntled. At first I wondered if he was having me on, but we looked it up and found a definition [“pleased, satisfied, and contented”], and I have since decided that I am completely tickled by this new word. Indeed, it seems the perfect word to have on hand as the project continues – and though its usage may be considered somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I am absolutely earnest in my resolution to make it my new byword!

Apparently, gruntled arrived on the scene in 1938 (in a novel, The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse, an indisputable master of the tongue-in-cheek), wryly coined from the word disgruntled, which, since 1682, has meant “discontented or ill-humored.” I like the idea that the word is new(ish) but relies on what went before to give it meaning. In much the same way, though the Lodge and Cottage are being built with mostly new materials, each incorporates a fair amount of reclaimed material as well, and moreover, each takes its cue architecturally from what has come before. I like the idea as well that the word gruntled can’t take itself too seriously, given its derivation. It’s a good reminder that, if I want to find myself often in a gruntled state, it’s best to assign the role of new opportunity to the bumps in the road rather than experience them as harbingers of doom.

I made my way over to Ohmega Salvage the other day, in search of slate tiles I might use for the hearth in the Cottage. Alas, the entire lot I had seen on offer there previously had been purchased. Though momentarily disgruntled to discover this, I wandered out into the yard and was delighted to catch sight of a batch of 24 Arts & Crafts-style tiles waiting for a new home. These tiles are probably too decorative to stand before a highly decorative fireplace (too ‘too’), but it occurred to me they would do nicely on the floor just inside the front door instead. Thus the old will inform the creation of the new in an unexpected way, and I am gruntled indeed! (And, I found jet black porcelain tiles at Urban Ore that will stand in perfectly for the slate at the hearth.)

My meaning in giving the name Acorn Lodge to our new home is to state its existence as a retreat in the woods rather than an inn. Of course, we do hope to welcome friends and family regularly to share the peace and quiet with us, so there is a sense of the inn in the Lodge’s function. But as I see it, the chief purpose of this whole endeavor is to create a place of refuge for ourselves, though it is not wholly without guilt that I intend to retreat from the hurly-burly. It seems to be a matter of wishing to find myself more often in a gruntled than a disgruntled state: the world-at-large often dismays me and I have wearied of the effort it takes from me to keep my spirits up in the face of my dismay. I am looking forward to cosying up in my own small corner of the world, maybe not forever, but for now . . . and perfectly well gruntled I hope to be!


gruntled, adj.

“pleased, satisfied, and contented”