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Lifestyle lessons from a luxurious Lake Club home

David Ahrens and Kirk Beckwith's home in The Lake Club shows a keen understanding of their shared past and their present way of life.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 15, 2024
A dramatic feature wall in the living room provides a fireplace, seating, and displays for art.
A dramatic feature wall in the living room provides a fireplace, seating, and displays for art.
Photo by Peter Le
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 Setting up a household is one thing, creating a lifestyle quite another. It takes a strong visual sense and a keen understanding of what is important to the family members. It should be designed to ease and enrich their lives. And of course, it doesn’t hurt if it looks sensational.

The home of David Ahrens and Kirk Beckwith in The Lake Club is an outstanding example. Carefully planned and thought out, it has a refined eye guiding its aesthetic choices, and contains just about every amenity the owners could desire, with Charlie the family Labrador an important part of the equation. 

The two men met in San Francisco 10 years ago and have been a couple ever since. Three and half years ago they moved to Florida and established a new home base. The home they built in The Lake Club is the second they have created together and it shows a keen understanding of their shared past and their present way of life.

They knew the look they wanted. “Our style is a fusion of mid-century and modern,” David explains. “Clean lines, a simple canvas with some great statement pieces.” The dramatic feature wall in the living room exemplifies the feeling. Created with the help of decorator Linda Hendershot, it gives the home a chic, sophisticated personality. A ceiling-high wall of dark concrete is softened by a subtle interplay of geometric lines. Wood accents warm the space up — along with the fireplace — and niches accommodate vases and sculptural pieces the men have collected over the years. There’s even a bench with pillows.

A model by Stock Builders, the home provides almost 3,000 square feet of living area.
Photo by Peter Le

The rest of the home takes its design cues from the drama in the living room, yet everything remains calm and peaceful, with the view providing the real drama. The home faces south and looks out over a lake, a constant source of inspiration for David and Kirk.

Cooking and entertaining are important to the couple. “We love that the kitchen is totally open to the living and dining areas,” David says. “It’s a gathering place for family and friends.” The space is well thought-out in terms of form and function, with plenty of surface area and a pantry so big it’s known as “the Costco store.” Kirk is the chief cook but the extra-large island is great when David joins in the food prep. “We do love joint creations,” he says.

Healthy eating is an important part of the couple’s life. Both are tall and lean and remarkably fit, and while not exactly vegetarians — they seek out grains and fruits and vegetables — diet is especially crucial for David’s active lifestyle. He is an Ironman champion, an extremely competitive endurance event that includes swimming, biking and running — all completed in one day. He has competed in 19 Ironman events over the past two decades. “My last was at the Ironman championships in Kona, Hawaii, in 2022. That was my swan song, and I enjoyed every minute of it.” These days training is not so extreme, but David still participates in various races, including a triathlon in Fort Myers last March. “I surprised myself by taking the win for my age group and 19th overall. Not bad for 53!”

For such an active couple, the home — and The Lake Club — are ideal. They both enjoy biking and yoga. There’s a gym at the clubhouse and the main pool is perfect for swimming laps. Their home’s outdoor living area, a spacious 1,100 square feet, means that nature is always a part of their lives. And that includes Charlie. Like many Labs he’s a water dog and his webbed feet means he can spend much time in the water. “He knows how to ask us to go in the pool,” Kirk says. “When we say ‘OK,’ he jumps right in.”

“Life is good for Charlie,” David adds. Indeed, the pup is one of the lucky Ranchers who head north each spring, trading a lakefront home in Florida for a lakefront home in Canada. Come late April, David and Kirk pack up the SUV for the two-day trip up to Buckhorn, Ontario. David, who is a Realtor for Re/Max Platinum, sells property in both locations. He admits he’s just as competitive when it comes to business as he is with his athletic endeavors. He occasionally flies back and forth as needed to handle clients and transactions. “It’s fairly seasonal, so it works out great. We sometimes stop in North Carolina where Kirk’s family is located. It’s always great to catch up with them.” Kirk, by the way, is a retired anesthesiologist.

Despite their international lifestyle, The Lake Club has become the focus of their lives. The men have become active in the community, taking advantage of the special events at the clubhouse. They are particularly involved in the annual Turkey Trot event each Thanksgiving; David, in fact, serves as one of the race’s directors. There are three race distances, and it has become The Lake Club’s largest single event in terms of participants — over 250 signed up last year. The $12,000 raised went to the Food Bank of Manatee, a cause the couple feel strongly about. “Each year we tweak something to make it better and better.”

Extra high ceilings and plenty of natural light make the primary bedroom a haven of comfortable living.
Photo by Peter Le

Both men love the self-contained nature of The Lake Club. “We never have to leave the community — but we do.” Experiencing all that Sarasota has to offer is a priority: the arts scene, restaurants, shopping, museums. Frequent foreign travel is also an important part of their lives. Recent trips have included Thailand and Cambodia, Europe and the Galapagos Islands. “We’re also avid scuba divers, so we do at least one dive vacation per year to Hawaii, Belize, Honduras or Bonaire.”

Still, it’s hard to beat the atmosphere at home. It will be lunch on the lanai, then maybe cooking dinner at the outdoor kitchen, accompanied by sunset over the lake. “We’ve made some longtime friends here,” they say. “The community offers a real mosaic of people from all corners of the country, with diverse backgrounds and different experiences. It’s an incredible quality of life in an incredibly beautiful environment. Who could say no to that?”

Certainly not Charlie. In addition to his own pool, he has his own dog park up by the clubhouse. Not a bad lifestyle for a Labrador.