Imagine taking in a stunning Venetian townscape while you sit on the toilet, watching television in the ancient temples of Guatemala, eating dinner under an Amazon sunset, or venturing through an Egyptian tomb on your way to bed.
These seemingly fantastical scenarios can become a reality for the tenant who secures what estate agents have described as “the most unusual flat in London”.
Take a casual glance at the block of flats in Linden Court, off Selvage Lane, Mill Hill, and you would be forgiven for thinking it was the same as any other.
But step inside one particular two-bedroom apartment and you are transported to another world that is the painstaking and imaginative creation of IT worker and artist Simon Edwards.
The 43-year-old has spent the best part of 10,000 hours of his spare time over 13 years creating immensely detailed and lifelike murals in every room.
Aliens burst out of the walls of the hallway in an eerie tribute to Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi thriller, while the bedroom is adorned with hand-painted comic book strips from cult action hero Flash Gordon.
The lounge is decorated with breathtaking temple scenes inspired by the former magician’s travels in Cambodia, India and Guatemala, while the spare room has been transformed into a London Atlantis.
When he bought the property from an elderly couple in August 1996, Mr Edwards said the flat was covered in three layers of wood chip wallpaper and “in need of a bit of work”.
More than a decade on, and just £1,000-worth of paint and materials later, the amateur artist has transformed the “bland, magnolia” property, where he lives with his wife Jo, into what must be the capital’s most charismatic home.
The couple are now moving to a house on the other side of Mill Hill and Mr Edwards will be renting out the unusual second-floor home, which he admits will require “a very unique tenant”.
He said: “You can probably rule out 95 per cent of people that are looking. It is a bit like Marmite - you either love it or hate it but it always provokes a reaction.
“It would have to be someone who likes art, with a quirky personality, and probably someone who likes travel and films or just crazy ideas.”
Mr Edwards has spent much of his life travelling to some of the world’s most idyllic and remote locations.
He has swum with 1,000 dolphins in the Galapagos Islands, walked with gorillas in Zaire, climbed Ayres Rock in Australia and trekked through the Amazon in Peru.
His experiences have inspired his creation back home and, despite having always had a talent for art and design, he considers his passion as nothing more than a hobby.
Standing next to a tabletop on which he spent more than 100 hours painting a sea-bed effect, he said: “There is nothing intrinsic about the painting I enjoy – I get nothing from the brush strokes or the act of doing it.
“It is the end result that drives me. Producing something you can show people and expressing what is in your head – something that teaches or inspires people.”
Mr Edwards, who has taken various works to the Burning Man arts festival in the Nevada desert over the past eight years, says his wife and friends “absolutely love” the transformation.
He said: “If my wife didn’t like it I guess she wouldn’t be with me. And my friends love it. I have written each of their names in hieroglyphics in the Egyptian hallway so they love coming over and pointing it out to people.”
The flat is now going on the rental market at an estimated £1,300pcm. Mr Edwards admits that all of the estate agents who came to view the property walked in with the same reaction – “wow”.
Mark Nasab, from Cosway Estate Agents, in Mill Hill, which has now agreed to market the flat, said he had never seen anything like it.
He said: “It is very unusual – I can’t believe there is anything like this in the whole of London.
“People will either love it or hate it – and I don’t know if there will be many people out there who will want to rent it.
“But it is a special flat and there will be some tenants who will be fascinated by the art work. It will be a challenge to find the right tenant but every house has a buyer, and there is someone to rent every property.”