A DECORATOR who spent 16 years transforming his council house into a Renaissance palace has unveiled his latest masterpiece.

Robert Burns made headlines in 2003 when he began painting his home in Twyford Close, Coldean, in the style of a 15th century Italian court. He was inspired by books he bought at car-boot sales.

Since finishing his grand design, the 72-year-old has been adorning the walls with celebrity portraits. Last month, his painting of Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield featured on their ITV show This Morning.

It is one of dozens hanging on the walls of his Brighton home, from Russell Brand (“a natural”,) to Wayne Rooney (who has “less of a Renaissance look”).

Robert explained how the project got underway. He said: “I bought a glossy guide to the Vatican at a car boot sale in Lewes, and I was just blown away.

“I thought: ‘I’ll paint my house like that’. I was working as a painter-decorator at the time, and it took a while. I started in 2003 and I’ve only just finished.

“As I was painting, I realised I had this talent laying dormant. So when I finished, I did loads of Renaissance portraits to put on the walls.

“I’ve painted so many there’s not enough space now. I rotate them like they do in international galleries.

“It took me a while to paint Holly and Phil. Philip was a lot more difficult because of the folds in his shirt, and it was hard to do them in a Renaissance style. They sent me some publicity snaps, and they were both smiling. The pose was very good, but not very Renaissance. I opted for a black background, and they said they were really pleased with it.”

On finishing his elegant home, Robert said: “It’s different now, actually living in it all the time. It’s only through the eyes of people seeing it for the first time that you remember it’s quite spectacular.”

“The Renaissance style is incredible. When you start looking at it you realise it’s almost better quality than a photo – and it’s 500 years old. It’s quite magical.”