See Inside a V.I.P. Tent Inspired by the English Countryside

At the Preakness Stakes, the design of the Owner's Chalet was “Soho House meets Ralph Lauren.”

By Beth Kormanik June 2, 2016, 7:00 AM EDT

The interior of the tent had a country estate feel, with leather seating, a grand piano, and touches like throw pillows and blankets. Decor items directly referenced racing, including jockey silks and a saddle.

Photo: Daniel Swartz for the Stronach Group

When the horses took off at the 141st Preakness Stakes on May 21, all eyes were on the track at Pimlico Race Course. But for the rest of the day, the action took place in the infield, where a number of sponsors at corporate groups set up tents and entertainment included a concert with headliner Fetty Wap.

For the first time, Pimlico operator the Stronach Group hosted its Owner’s Chalet in the infield. The tent had prime positioning next to the winner’s circle and overlooking the finish line, where Exaggerator beat Kentucky Derby champion Nyquist. The gathering brought together 250 guests, including a diverse set of V.I.P.s such as the rapper 50 Cent, chef Bobby Flay, former Miss USA Olivia Culpo, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

To design the space, the Stronach Group’s Belinda Stronach called upon Karan Brady of Beverly Hills-based Karan Brady Interiors. Brady, a former interior designer for Ralph Lauren Home, designed the 3,000-square-foot space to evoke an English country estate.

The design concept was “Soho House meets Ralph Lauren,” Brady said, and featured design elements such as leather chesterfield armchairs, French tapestries, hunting pillows, crystal candelabras, and faux sheepskin throw blankets. Wood beams on the tent ceiling—actually vintage railway ties—added to the residential feel. The furnishings included a mix of rental furniture as well as pieces that Brady sourced. Brady also had access to a Preakness museum, from which she borrowed memorabilia such as photos of legendary horse Secretariat, as well as jockey silks and portraits of jockeys.

The tent included a covered veranda that led to a courtyard with four fire pits, pea gravel walkways, and topiaries. “We wanted to make it feel like home,” Brady said. “The Stronach Group was very passionate about it and wanted to do it the right way.”

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