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our story

Marissa Whitley Tago is an Interior Designer and Owner of The Whitley Co., a full-service design studio in historic Charles Town, West Virginia.  Growing up in Springfield, Missouri, she was an active child, whose entrepreneurial spirit quickly evolved from fundraising for school activities to organizing closets, asking about heirlooms and creating more livable spaces for her elderly neighbors who had turned into extended family to her through years of entering their home and sharing stories of their lives. Marissa knew then that she could use her love of helping others while gaining life lessons, treasured stories and a deep sense of purpose while shaping an interior space for her neighbors no matter what the task.  

Today, Marissa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, and she enjoys creating beautiful spaces for her clients after starting The Whitley Co. in January of 2018. She emphasizes more than function and truly values the clients' journey and pushes to highlight their unique voice and treasured possessions to enhance their spaces. A passion that allows for more than merely creating spaces, Interior design gives Marissa the ability to enhance people's lives in the most intimate settings.


At age 18, Marissa moved to New York City after winning the Miss Teen USA Pageant in 2001, and embarked on a whirlwind year that furthered her love of being of service. In 2003, she was hired as a VJ with MTV. She then moved to Chicago where she expanded her resume with work for a non-profit organization then as a Marketing Assistant for The State of Illinois while modeling and acting with Stewart Talent. 

In 2009, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked for various companies including Cypress Land Company working in commercial property management along with serving sushi at the visually stunning Katsuya Restaurant in Hollywood designed by Philippe Starck.  

With each new opportunity, one thing remained a constant in Marissa's life, her love of making spaces better than she found them. Her design aesthetic was broadened and her life enriched with each new adventure and she brings that unique perspective and passion for life to each space that she designs for her clients. Marissa is a proud Navy wife and mother of three children.  Marissa is also a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), National Kitchen and Bath Association, Female Design Council and the Black Interior Designer Network and was awarded the "Emerging Business of the Year" by the City of Columbia in 2019.   

a proud Member
Dell's Women's Entrepreneur Network
Black Artists + Designers Guild
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   "Design is my way of leaving an impression on people's lives."

As Seen In

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Mitch J.

Marissa has an undeniable passion for Interior Design! Along with her passion, you will also so gain her wealth of knowledge and resources! Marissa will oversee your home projects from the smallest upgrades, to a complete overhaul of your entire house. Marissa stayed involved every step of our process, and made sure every detail, and concern we had was addressed. I was extremely impressed with her vision, she definitely has the ability to proactively anticipate future circumstances. Marissa pays attention to small details such as tile and grout colors to match high traffic areas and complimentary accent back splash walls.  Our experience with Marissa has been very professional and efficient! Investing in Marissa as our Interior Designer has not only saved us money, but ultimately she saved us our time!


Hope T.

I have really enjoyed working with Marissa on our bathroom renovation! She put together a design board that nailed my vision for our bath and was a great help when it came to locating pieces and answering questions. I had a pretty set vision of what I wanted the bathroom to look like, and Marissa helped me think outside the box and broaden my design horizons. She encouraged me to pick a tile that I wasn't sure about for our shower. Now that it's done, I am so glad we went with what she said! Her suggestions and recommendations are thoughtful and unique. I would encourage anyone who needs design help and inspiration to hire her. She will help you every step of the way!


Sarah M.

Marissa at The Whitley Co. guided the redesign of our basement in the fall of 2020. She did a great job. She was very responsive, offered creative solutions, and worked within our budget to create a comfortable, stylish place for us to gather with family and friends.

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Marissa gives 5 star service to everyone she works with, no matter your budget. She treats your space as her own, works around the clock and doesn't stop until it is perfect. I have worked with her on a full first-floor renovation at our home and would recommend her work to anyone on a range of projects, events, staging, etc. Thank you for all you have done to make our house a home!

Alyssa, Modern Bathroom & 1960's Ranch Kitchen Remodel