Situated on a tree-lined street in Chappaqua, New York, the modest two-bedroom house the Lessers bought in 1996 could have been a way station en route to ever-larger digs. But rather than decamp with the arrival of more kids, the couple decided to stay, adding here and there while maximizing what they had. "Each project was a function of having another child or a specific need," says their architect and interior designer, Carol J.W. Kurth, who regards walls and niches the way developers look at vacant lots.
Shown: The Cape's classic facade was one reason the owners wanted to stay.