We started by moving all of the attic insulation out of the soffits so when the drop down ceiling was demolished, we wouldn't have a butt ton of insulation in our kitchen.
After we had two electricians at our house ALL DAY to move a whole bunch of hanging wires and route us some new lights, we were able to install the lights and do the drywalling ourselves. The drywalling isn't perfect and it took FOREVER...but we saved some money and that's what matters most.
We both looked like this afterwards. And as much as we tried to block off the rest of the house...every surface pretty much looked like this as well....for months as the dust just kept settling. It was a pain to clean becuase I hate dusting.
Once the dining room walls were 'smooth' we appled a thin layer of texture and smooth it out so we could start fresh. The bottom layer would be sanded multiple times to create the look of a perfectly smooth wall, while the top layer got an even coating of knock down texture. To save time and to ensure an even look, we opted to pay a lot of cans that spray the texture for you, then you just come back and 'knock' it down with a large putty knife with very light pressure. Buying the cans cost us more but it saved so much time and I was all over that!
Next we bought some pre cut poplar wood that needed just a little bit of trimming on the vertical boards to create our board and batten look. We were almost to the finish line! But first we had to do a bunch of wood filler, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, clean up, and all those other darn details before you can actually see some real results.