Rick Schneider quit his legal career to open Magpie Reclamations furniture store in Del Ray

Rick Schneider couldn’t resist all the fancy old furniture left on the curb during the pandemic in New York City.

The Austin, Texas, native had just graduated with a law degree from Villanova University and was temporarily living in Manhattan when Covid hit. He had a truck and collected enough chairs, dressers and more to furnish his own apartment, a friend’s apartment and a storage unit.

“People were fleeing Manhattan and I saw all this beautiful furniture sitting out getting ready to be hauled away,” Schneider said. “I mean, we’re going around finding pieces that you can find online for $10,000 just on the curb.”

Schneider started selling the furniture on Facebook Marketplace. Fast forward to three years later, Schneider said he hated being an immigration attorney, quit his job and opened Magpie Reclamations. What started as a pop-up at a store in the West End resulted in him opening his own brick and mortar at 2210 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray last summer. Seven months later, this past January, he reopened in a small cottage right off Mount Vernon Avenue at 202 E. Custis Avenue.

Schneider said that he was inspired by the Uncommon Objects antique store in Austin. He now restores and sells antique, vintage and mid-century modern furniture.

“These pieces come from anywhere and everywhere,” Schneider said. “I do all the restoration work myself. Our bread and butter is looking for these pieces that are beautiful, but really heavily damaged, and probably on their way to the landfill, reclaiming them, refinishing them, and then bringing them back to the market.”

Schneider’s small shop looks like an overstuffed living room that you might see on an episode of Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie. It’s full of desks, tables, chairs, sofas, dressers, as well as vases, paintings, lamps and jewelry.

“It’s a lovely, funky little cottage in the heart of Del Ray,” Schneider said. “Del Ray has a distinct kind of vibe to it, and I’m very, very, very happy here.”

He named the store after the east Asian songbird which is known to recover discarded trinkets and treasures.

“If you befriend a magpie by feeding it nuts and treats, it will start bringing you shiny little baubles and things that it finds,” Schneider said. “It’ll bring you gifts. So, I liked that idea that this bird is going around collecting these items, kind of hoarding them, and then giving them back out.”

Schneider lives with his partner in Temple Hills, Maryland.

Magpie Reclamations is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday, from 11 am. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The shop is otherwise open by appointment.