A retired British decorator has transformed his home by covering its interior in renaissance-style murals to emulate the Sistine Chapel after being inspired by a book about the Vatican.

Robert W. Burns, 64, swapped his roller for a more delicate paintbrush after buying the book from a car boot sale.

“I’d never painted anything, I mean other than I was a decorator,” Burns said. “With a bit of sort of trial and error, I surprised myself that I can actually paint a renaissance picture.”

He began the ambitious redecoration of his council-owned home in 2003.

Eight years later, nearly every surface in his state-owned two-bedroom house in Brighton, on Britain’s south coast, is covered in intricate paintings in the style of famous masters such as Michelangelo.

Unlike the artists who inspired his work, Burns paints in watercolour, not oil.

He also allowed himself some modern touches including a portrait of his wife and another of controversial British actor Russell Brand as Jesus.

During the transformation, Burns questioned whether he had gone too far, but his wife urged him to see it through.

“I had to say to her, at one stage, is this a bit over the top, because the house was sort of slowly morphing into the Vatican, and she said, ‘No, you’ve started, carry on!'”

Now it’s complete, Burns is delighted with the outcome.

“I’m very proud of it, I’d show anybody around the house, which I do, even when workmen come in, I always do the tour. They’re actually blown away!”

Burns is worried his hard work may be erased should he and his wife move out of their home.

“Obviously, you have to leave the house in the condition that you found it, so I’ll probably have to paint it out, just white ceilings and magnolia walls,” Burns said.

He is now painting on canvasses so he will have something to take away if they choose to relocate.

But the council say they will not ask Burns to repaint for new tenants.

A council spokeswoman said: “Mr Burns’ decoration would not be painted over if and when the property became available to be re-let.

“However, in such exceptional circumstances as these, if the incoming tenant objected to the designs, the council could offer some assistance with the cost of redecorating.”

Until then Burns is looking for a way to keep his precious paintwork in place permanently.

“I’d like to try and get the national newspapers in to buy it for the nation,” he said.