My older home clients used to reach out to me initially because something had happened that they just couldn't live with.
In a plaster and lath home, it was usually the aging plaster itself or water added to aging plaster that prompted the decision to do something.
However, a water problem like in the office photo above can easily turn into a budget buster. Fixing the underlying problem is step one obviously, but repairing the original ceiling and walls is where the meter really starts running.
For all practical matters, nobody builds plaster and lath ceilings and walls anymore. and it's very difficult to partially rebuild a damaged old wall using drywall. Typically, all of the plaster comes out and gets replaced with drywall. By the time you're at that point, you're over budget and still have a room to finish.
Oh the joy of owning an old home.
There are options you know and they're not the drop ceilings you remember from school and work.
Honestly, if I were in the position where the damaged office shown above were mine, I'd be very inclined to replace all of that damage with something like this.
Yes, that's an Armstrong drop ceiling. It's the Easy Elegance Coffer and you can read about it here.
Of course you'd repair the damage in the original room but when you're up against a wall (no pun intended) when it comes to a budget, a solution like a new drop ceiling from Armstrong may be the your best option. I know that's what I'd do.
In the meantime, take a look at Armstrong's inspiration gallery. You'll be amazed at the planks, the panels, the drops and the metals they have available. I know I was!